As part of our Back To School Giving Campaign through Oct. 13, Civic Nebraska is highlighting our outside-of-school programs and sharing what they see. Earlier this month, Director of Development Sarah Walker and Grant Writer Alex Brechbill checked out Civic Nebraska’s Before- and After-School Program at Raymond Central’s Ceresco elementary school.
Hey there, Mustangs! Raymond Central elementary students started their after-school time with a snack of granola bars with applesauce. When we arrived, Ms. Kara – that’s Kara Nelson, who has led Civic Nebraska’s Before- and After-School Program since it launched early in 2020 – was in Valparaiso to pick up students for the program. We had a smile and gave a cheer when a few youngsters on the playground serenaded us with “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” on sax and tuba.
Once inside, we saw students riveted with kinetic-based activities. The creativity was on full display, from Fidget Club to stress balls, to Play-Doh to Orbeez, to making bracelets from zippers.
Raymond Central’s students were curious and made friends quickly with us – they definitely understand how social connectedness can benefit both individuals and a community! The high-energy group peppered us with questions. A typical exchange:
“Why are you taking photos?”
I’m writing a story about your after-school program!
“Are you a newspaper writer?”
Nope, I work at Civic Nebraska.
“I like to write! I’m writing a personal narrative about my trip to Montana with my family.”
“And I’m writing a story about my softball tournament!”
In the gym, youngsters were in engineering stations, and Miss Alaney was guiding her crew through various construction projects, compelling students to employ critical thinking and teamwork to build all kinds of items with the magnetic toy construction kits.
We won’t lie – the most fun part of carefully assembling the toy crowns, necklaces, and basketball hoops was getting to tear them down at the end. But it’s all in a day’s work of building the next generation of Nebraska’s civic leaders. Thanks for the fun and engaging afternoon, Raymond Central!